Challenges and opportunities of a 5G ecosystem discussed at the 5G Huddle in Copenhagen
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed at the 5G Huddle in Copenhagen between the WWRF and the 5G Forum of Korea for global co-operation for the development of 5G networks.
Opening the 5G Huddle, Nigel Jefferies, chairman of WWRF said that, “5G could be the mobile platform that delivers an era of ubiquitous communications. The major challenges for 5G will be its costs and return on investment, and it could cause major disruption in the mobile market. That’s why it’s important to have a global understanding and to work together to achieve a worldwide standard.”
Dr Lee Hyeon Woo, 5G Forum, Korea, said the MOU will be key to lay out a roadmap, a phased approach for 5G standards and 5G network migration. It will facilitate exchange of information and identify issues of common interest between the two organisations, with the goal of supporting the push towards a global vision for 5G.
Alongside the signing of this significant new MOU, the first day of the 5G Huddle offered a highly interactive platform to discuss global standardisation, co-operation and interoperability, looking at how a user-centric approach can be key to identify and overcome the obstacles and challenges connected to a 5G future.
Asia is likely to be the first commercial adopter of 5G, said Dr Chih-Lin I, chief scientist of wireless technologies at China Mobile Research Institute. She spoke of networks of the future to be, “Greener, softer and superfast, tactile, immersive,” with key features being agility and efficiency.
Mario Campolargo, director of net futures, DG Connect, European Commission said that 5G is a, “crucial” element in the “new industrial evolution,” and Europe’s single digital market. Network virtualisation is an “unstoppable trend” that will change the dynamics and structure of the telecom market added Campolargo, who continued to add that, the “verticals” are the “game-changers” in that ecosystem and the three “burning issues” around 5G are how to create standards that match the ambitious 5G visions by not excluding players outside the traditional telecom companies; agreeing on a timeline and resisting short term commercial exploitation of next generation technologies; and ensuring that spectrum is available.
Jorgen Abild Andersen, chairman of Committee for Digital Economic Policy (CDEP), OECD said that security and privacy concerns and lack of skills are the most serious threats to data-driven innovation. Andersen said that politicians focus on full geographic mobile coverage and internet speeds of 100Mbps, which is too narrow a focus. Instead, they should concentrate on solving the problems of poor innovation, low growth and high unemployment by looking holistically at all parts of the economic ecosystem. “We need a whole-government approach toward building a digital economy. 5G should be considered an element of the entire digital economy,” he said. “Choosing the right digital strategy is key,” he said, adding that the Internet of Things will require lower latency, an umbrella of mobile technologies and huge investments.
Discussing the challenge of building a globally agreed vision for 5G development and deployment, Proffessor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the Centre for Communications Systems Research, University of Surrey and director of the 5GIC raised a question: “We’ve developed grand visions about what 5G will deliver, but will the reality be? Do we risk rushing into 5G and only achieving “higher speed and higher speed” or will all these efforts actually deliver new things that will help verticals and have societal benefits?” he asked.
Bashir Gwandu, Commonwealth ITU Group chairman, stressed the importance of not leaving anyone behind: “5G is key for developing and developed countries but different expectations must be met,” he said, adding that those countries with 5% or less 4G deployment will have different requirements for 5G than countries like Sweden or Japan. “But as a community we need to work together to see how the industry can grow. Countries where there is slow uptake must make sure their views and needs around 5G are taken into consideration in the discussion,” he said.
Discussing investment and infrastructure, Kumar Singarajah, director, regulatory affairs and business development at Avanti Communications, speaking for the EMEA Satellite Operators Association, said that the satellite community wants to see a role in creating a 5G architecture. Avanti believes that 5G is not just mobile technology and is more than wireless. “Satellites are good at efficiently transmitting data over larger areas in a cost efficient manner,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anders Bohlin, senior economist at the European Investment Bank (EIB) said that the EIB sees the huge interest in 5G as it moves into the equipment R&D phase, but its problem is that the bank doesn’t really know what 5G is. The 5G community must communicate to the financial community, banks and end users what it is. “Banks always want the money back,” so 5G providers must have a business case and a business model everyone believes in, he stated. At this point, the EIB is supporting R&D for the EU digital agenda, but can only finance 50% of the project costs of project. No special process is required for 5G; it’s “business as usual”, he noted.
On the role of the regulators, Jakob Henrik Juul, head of division of the Danish Energy Agency said that they are better at reacting than at being proactive. “For 5G, they need a clear timeline to know what the demand is, because it takes time to award spectrum licenses and deal with technological developments.”